Updated: Jun 10, 2019
People who travel often will benefit from optimising nutritional and lifestyle factors during these periods.
International travel over multiple time zones (on holiday, working or competing abroad) in different climates with different cultures and environments bring a host of variables which can impact health, well-being and performance.
The cabin environment of planes can affect a plethora of physiological functions while crossing multiple times zones; these can cause circadian desynchronisation, and depending on numerous factors, a mismatch between the body’s internal 24-hour body clock and zeitgebers (Zeitgebers are environmental cues that help sync your internal body clock). High-risk areas, possible reduced standards of cleanliness and risk of illness, local customs/environment and reduced access to foods in the habitual diet all add to the complexities.
This can cause increases in:
- GI issues/travellers stomach bug
- Sleep disturbances
- Decreased alertness
- Mood disturbance
- Reduced motivation
- Decreases in performance, recovery and well-being associated with the above
Resynchronization of the body clock is achieved principally through manipulation of zeitgebers; while there are some supplements and dietary methods that show promise, more investigation is needed. Acclimation and adjustment to a new location is important, jetlag, unaccustomed environmental conditions, illness or inappropriate dietary intake can impact performance negatively.
Be prepared and have a plan.
- Pre, during & arrival at destination (food, hydration, customs, environment etc.)
- Easy to utilise, package and accessible foods/snacks for travel.
- Best hygiene practice to prevent illness
- Nutrition, hydration and hygiene for high-risk areas
- High-risk foods - what to avoid
- Minimising jet lag
- Circadian resynchronisation.
- GI issues/travelling bug - how to combat or maintain best health during illness
Halson, S., Burke, L., Pearce, J., 2018. Nutrition for Travel- from Jetlag to Catering. Int J Sport Nutr Exe 1–24.